Metro crash victims warn of tow company illegally running wrecks, charging high fees

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Illegally running wrecks, strong-arming customers and charging outrageous prices: Those are the complaints by people who were towed
by a Northland company.

Caroline Foster said she became a victim of 24/7 Tow and Recovery after an accident at Main Street and 670 Highway in downtown Kansas City.

Foster said 24/7 pulled up to the scene minutes after she dialed 911. She said the tow truck driver was insistent that he needed to get her off the road immediately.

A 24/7 Tow and Recovery truck

“I just had to get out of the way as soon as possible,” Foster said she was told. “I didn't have time to wait for police. I didn't have time to wait for another tow company.”

She wishes now that she’d ignored that advice because once 24/7 had her car on a hook, the driver refused to drop her at the collision center she had requested and instead took her to the lot the tow company shares with North Star Auto in Northmoor. The tow bill was $980 -- about three times the price of a typical Kansas City tow.

“I'm sharing my story because I feel I was taken advantage of,” Foster said.

She’s not alone. 24/7 Tow also showed up at Jennifer Sipershteyn’s accident minutes after she dialed 911.

“You are going to need to have this towed,” Sipershteyn said the driver told her. “It's not driveable.”

Sipershteyn asked for her car to be taken to Car Star body shop.

Caroline Foster

“Oh yeah, we can take it there,” she said the driver told her.

But once her car was hooked to the tow truck, Sipershteyn said the tow truck driver refused to bring it to Car Star unless she paid him $980 in cash.

Since she didn’t have the money, 24/7 brought the car to his lot at North Star Auto. That’s where it sat while Sipershteyn called an attorney, her insurance and FOX4 Problem Solvers.

24/7 eventually agreed to reduce the tow bill to $500 and tow her car to a new location.

It’s illegal in Kansas City for tow truck drivers to run wrecks. That’s something Sipershteyn didn’t know but wishes the police officer who showed up at her accident had told her.

Jennifer Sipershteyn

“If she had told me it was illegal to solicit me, I would definitely not have used him,” Sipershteyn said.

A police spokeswoman said it can be difficult for police to determine whether a tow truck driver was wreck-running if the tow truck driver is already at the accident when police arrive.

Sipershteyn said she told police that 24/7 had “just shown up on the scene.” However, that’s not reflected in the police report, which states that Sipershteyn solicited the tow.

A Kansas City ordinance clearly states that it’s prohibited for a tow truck driver to stop at any accident unless called or flagged down by the driver or police.

FOX4 Problem Solvers paid a visit to 24/7 Tow to get its side of the story. William Benfer signed  documents listing the company with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. However, as soon as 24/7 employees saw us, they ran away. FOX4 tried to reach Benfer by phone, but the message line was full.

Both women – Sipershteyn and Foster – have filed complaints with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office against 24/7.

“I had no idea there were tow truck companies like this out there,” said Sipershteyn. “I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”